|Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. How Buddhism played an important role in spreading Indian culture?
Conclusion. Contextual conclusion.
Buddhism originated in India. Though Buddhism disappeared from India, yet, it had exerted great influence on the culture of India across the globe. Buddhism established an intimate contact between India and foreign countries. Many travellers have helped spread Buddhism outside India. The Buddhist monks carried the gospel of the Buddha to the foreign countries and contributed largely to the spread of Indian culture.
How Buddhism played an important role in spreading Indian culture?
- Spread of Hindu faith: The foreigners who came to India were influenced by the rich culture of India. They gave up their names and creeds and adopted Hindu names and Hindu faith. Thus in a way, Buddhism helped in spreading Indian way of living.
- Learning from universities: The universities were the most important centres of cultural interaction. The scholars coming from abroad often visited the library of Nalanda University. Students and teachers from such universities carried Indian culture abroad along with its knowledge and religion. The Chinese pilgrim Huien-tsang has given ample information about the universities he visited in India.
- Spread of literature: The Buddhist monasteries were used for education purposes. In the Buddhist monasteries the beginnings of vernacular or Prakrit literature were made which later on developed into an extensive body of literature. Buddhism promoted Indian literature through these monasteries.
- Spread of philosophy: Many Chinese and Indian scholars travelled through these routes in search of wisdom and propagate the philosophy of Buddhism and Hinduism. Along the route there were resting places for Monks and Missionaries, for pilgrims and merchants. Later these became famous centres of Buddhist learning. The trade route transmitted religion and philosophy, ideas and beliefs, languages and literature, and art and culture.
- Spread of Indian art: King Ashoka made great efforts to propagate Buddhism outside India. He sent his son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka to spread the message of the Buddha. With Buddhism, Indian Art forms also reached Sri Lanka, where the themes, styles and techniques of paintings, dance, folklores and art and architecture were taken from India. The most renowned paintings of Sri Lanka are found in the cave-shelter monasteries at Sigiriya. Figures painted in the cave are in the Amaravati style of India.
The transmission of Indian culture to distant parts of Central Asia, China, Japan, and especially Southeast Asia is certainly one of the greatest achievements of Indian history. One can find some magnificent temples like Pagan in Burma, Angkor in Cambodia, Borobudur in Java which are the evidence of influence of Buddhism.